What We Did on Our Summer Vacation

 

Y’all. 

We had a busy summer. 

Between May 1st and August 3rd, we did 52 performances of 15 different musicals. Most theatre companies do 5 shows a season…but I guess we’re not most theatre companies! From Shakespeare to Fosse, Disney to Dreamworks, we offered our community a little bit of everything, and a lot of opportunities to smile. Here’s a glimpse at our 2014 summer theatre mania! 

Dreamworks Theatrical’s SHREK, the MUSICAL

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STAR STRUCK DANCE CAMP

 

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A CHORUS LINE

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Disney’s THE JUNGLE BOOK, KIDS
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SWEET CHARITYIMG_6537

Disney’s BEAUTY and the BEAST, JR.
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In addition to these wonderful productions (which include many others that are not pictured), we also had a few special events. Dr. Allan Taaca and Jenn Doubleday took home 1st place for Judge’s Choice and 1st place for Audience Choice at this year’s Ballroom Extravaganza, while raising over $11,000 to kickstart our 2014-2015 season! We also had our first ever Fairy Tale Festival (quickly nicknamed FairyFest), which offered the tiny pirates and princesses in our community the chance to experience a small taste of what SCT has to offer. Thanks to Renee McMahon and the folks at Enchant My Party, we had a magical time! 

2014 DANCING with the DOCS BALLROOM EXTRAVAGANZA
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2014 FAIRYFEST

fairyfest arielWe know what you’re thinking. What’s next?! We have so much in store for this year, and we look forward to sharing it with you! Keep checking our Facebook page and our website for information about classes, auditions, and the multitude of ways that your family can become a part of SCT. We can’t wait to make your fairy tales come true! 

 

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Auditioning Techniques, by Christopher Blair

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Does auditioning make you nervous?  Me, too.  I always imagine my auditions feeling like this…

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     But they usually make me feel like this…
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     I’ve always found it fascinating that actors willingly walk into a room full of strangers to bare their souls offering it up to be critiqued and assessed, when most people would run from situations like these.   But it’s what you’ve got to do if you want to get the part.  So we muster up our courage, get up there and show ‘em what we’ve got!
     I’ve been doing theatre for approximately 4,000 years and I’ve learned a few things along the way.  So, if you’re someone like me who would rather clean Shrek’s outhouse than audition, here’s a few tips I have to share.
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Relax
     Easier said than done.  Everyone accomplishes this difficult task differently.  Personally, I like deep breathing.  Others might like exercise, or imagining everyone in the room wearing chicken costumes.  Just do what works for you.  Most theatre classes, including those at SCT, teach relaxation techniques to help you prepare for the stress of live performances.  But no matter how worked up we get, the truth is that the world will not end if you blow your high note or you miss a dance step, so do yourself a favor and relax.  Being relaxed encourages self-confidence.  Self-confidence inspires others to be confident in you.
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Make Yourself Comfortable
     Wear something that allows you to move.  If you know that there will be a dance audition, it might be a good idea to show up in loose-fitting pants or leggings rather than jeans.  Just make sure that you still look pleasant and professional, not like you’ve just come running in all sweaty from the gym.
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Do Your Homework
     Find out everything you can about the show for which you auditioning.  If the show has been adapted into a film, watch it.  If it has a cast recording, listen to it.  If the script is available for purchase, read it.  Use the internet!  There is no such thing as having too much information.  This gets you familiar with the material, and gives you an idea of what roles might be right for you.
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Pretend it’s Opening Night
     If you hate auditioning but love performing, use the same energy that you would for a performance.  Pretend there’s an audience there to entertain, even if there’s only one or two people.  Use all the joy you find in performing during the audition.  This will give the casting team a much clearer idea of your abilities and who you are as a performer.  Light up the stage!
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    I don’t guarantee that using these techniques will always get you the part you want, but they will help make auditioning a less scary and stressful experience.  Each of our summer camps starts with an audition, so if you or your child is registered for camp, I hope you’ve found these tips helpful!    Remember that everyone on the casting team wants you to be your best.  We’re all rooting for you!  Oh, and there’s one more tip…
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Don’t Forget to Have Fun! 
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Calling All Bunburyists, by Bailey Keith

     I’m going to go ahead and boldly state that The Importance of Being Earnest is the funniest show I have been in to date.  Not only is the show itself hilarious, but as a cast we have blast. (Rhyme quite possibly intentional.)  The play, by the legendary Oscar Wilde, is a satire on the social expectations of young adults in the Victorian era.  My favorite thing about the show is its power to transform a situation so gravely serious to the characters into something incredibly silly to the audience.  

     That is an attribute that I believe adequately reflects one of my favorite things about Savannah Children’s Theatre; the encouragement we get to be as silly as possible.  SCT is a place where children and adults alike can leave behind any pressures to be “normal,” because really, normal can get quite boring.  Savannah Children’s Theatre calls to Bunburyists of all shapes and sizes.  Don’t know what a Bunburyist is?  Come see Earnest March 21st-30th and find out!  (See what I did there?)

     Alright, I’ll give you some clues. You might be a Bunburyist if..

…you have make-believe relatives or friends. (Imaginary friends can always be trusted.)

…you’ve made up an alias for yourself. (Just in case.)

…your origin is a terminus. (Or your background is unusual.)

…you have an ‘irresistible fascination’ with glitter. (Our floor is covered in it.)

…you like to be immensely overdressed. (This could qualify as anyone who likes to play dress-up or occasionally wear ridiculous hats.)

The cast of "The Importance of Being Earnest," being quite, quite earnest.

The cast of “The Importance of Being Earnest,” being quite, quite earnest.

     If you, or someone you know, fits any of the above, we want you to know just one thing.

     WE THINK YOU’RE AWESOME.

     Savannah Children’s Theatre serves as a constant reminder of the importance of being you.   In addition to performance skills, SCT teaches us that being silly is okay, and being weird is just fine, and wearing 3-piece suits for no reason is kinda cool.  It doesn’t matter if you like bread and butter or teacake because variety is good.

   The word “earnest” means “sincere, heartfelt, and impassioned.”  I earnestly hope that you’ll buy a ticket to our little comedy, and that you’ll smile so broadly and laugh so loudly that you’ll text your friends to come see it with you a second time.  And I earnestly want you to come back and sign up for summer camp, or classes, or audition for a show.  Because no matter your baggage – small or large, with handles or without – SCT welcomes you.

Deck the Halls with…Wait…Did I Miss it? by Jenn Doubleday

   We sort of forgot we had this blog.

   Actually, that isn’t true.  I forgot we had this blog.  Mea culpa.

   But there were back-to-back tech weeks, and back-to-back holidays, and  I hope that the time you would have spent reading our updates was spent drinking hot cocoa with your family instead.  At least, that’s what I did!

   The holidays are a lot like tech week.  The weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, or Christmas, or say, planning a birthday party for your almost-two-year-old that may have gotten slightly out of hand, are enormously difficult and enormously rewarding.  You spend all week planning for the big day; shopping, cleaning, decorating, and failing to live up to your Pinterest board, all in the hopes that your dozen family members will enjoy themselves for a few hours.  It’s a week full of rushing and bustling, trying to perfect every tiny detail for a few moments of holiday bliss.  And that, in a nutshell, is what we attempt every week at SCT.

   Of course, instead of a few family members we invite 150 strangers, and instead of having them over once in December we perform about 210 days a year.  And they don’t clean up after themselves. Theatre, like the holidays, is an ephemeral pastime.  All the hard work and effort to plan that one magical moment is here today, and in the prop room tomorrow.  We rehearse three-minute musical numbers for hours at a time, and spend weeks rigging special effects that last only one second of each performance.  In doing so, we hope to create memories that will last a lifetime.

   Long after the cookies have been devoured and the wrapping paper has been thrown away, the memories of entertaining your loved ones remain.  You can laugh that the turkey was still slightly frozen in the middle, and you can start planning to make next year even better than this one.

   On opening night, sometimes the paint is still a little wet. Sometimes the magic trick doesn’t work like it should.  No matter what, we get the unique opportunity to make each show better than the one before it.  We get to see smiles on  children’s faces and delight in their eyes all year round!  Yes, tech week is just like the holidays, and I for one, am exceedingly glad that I get to live them all year round.

   This holiday season, SCT got an amazing gift in the form of a newly refinished stage!  Thanks to Mike Prow, Vann Doubleday, Eric G. Mitchell, Mark Padgett, Glory Padgett, Chris Bass, Josh Riggs, and Corbin Hernandez, our 7-year-old stage got a facelift, and boy, does she look beautiful!  You can check out photos of the entire process here…and while you’re there, don’t forget to like our page!  Thank you for being part of our zany SCT family.  Happy New(ish) Year!

Coming Home, by Laura Keena

     I am so glad to be home!

     I am also glad to say that working here at Savannah Children’s Theatre is one of the reasons why.  I loved growing up here in this enchanting place and, like so many of us, my life was forever changed after auditioning for a Kelie Miley production (Peter Pan, to be specific).  After that summer in **cough cough** it was all over!  The theatre bug had seriously bitten me, and I was forever to be a lost boy.  A theatre kid to the bitter end!

     In high school I knew that I wanted to leave Savannah (isn’t that what everyone wants in high school?), and I did.  I went to college in Washington DC, home to a surprisingly vibrant and thriving theatre community.  I studied in London and New York.  I worked in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, anywhere that would allow me to do what I loved!  For a long time Savannah was behind me.  Not forgotten, but not in focus.

     I think of our recent graduates, some of whom are now in their first year away from home, and I remember that bittersweet time in my own life.  Simultaneously loving being away from home, meeting new people and learning so many new things, but also being surprised by how deeply I missed my home.  I’d go about my days, happy to be out on my own, until a sudden craving for my dad’s homemade spaghetti sauce (affectionately known in my house as “the nectar of the gods”) would hit me in the gut.  I was a strong, independent, career-oriented woman…until I came down with the sniffles.  Nothing says “you’re an adult now” quite like buying your own Kleenex and cold medicine.  Eventually, you find your way and you build your home wherever you are, and a while after I left, Savannah stopped feeling like my absolute home.  Until this year.

     Since I moved back in January, I have had the honor and pleasure of working alongside my best friend, my first director, and countless former cast mates.  Like everyone else who works at Savannah Children’s Theatre, I think it best to say that I wear many hats.  Since starting to work here I have been challenged and inspired daily, and it’s only been nine months!  One day Assistant Music Directing 42nd Street, the next Stage Managing Charlotte’s Web, another day rehearsing Jane in our upcoming production of Tarzan, and starting today, Directing And Then There Were None for our burgeoning Teen Theatre class.  I am so glad to be home, doing what I love with the people I love, and being a part of this wonderful arts community!

     So for those of you recently gone, or for those of you preparing to go, know in advance that it’s going to be hard.  And know in advance that it does get easier.  And know that, sometimes, you can go home again. 

What Color is Your Glitter? by Georgette Ford

     Six years ago my children and I walked through the doors of the Savannah Children’s Theatre to audition for the 2007 production of Charlotte’s Web.  I knew we had walked into something special, something vibrant, and something so alive.  What I heard was that this was a community theatre, a place where the community was encouraged to be involved.  There were numerous volunteer opportunities given to me; they all sounded so interesting I didn’t know which one to pick first!

      Turns out I didn’t have to pick an activity, it picked me.  One day, a fabulously creative volunteer mom who was glittering letters for a window display asked for my help. I dove right in; I loved working with purple glitter.  Who knew there were so many colors of glitter?!  When I saw the finished product hanging in one of the SCT windows I was blown away by how creative people can be. I knew I was involved in something big.  I also knew that my pitifully glittered letters meant that I should try to find another area to apply my volunteer expertise.  Leaving the windows in the hands of Heather Kingery, Suzanne Findley, Renee McMahon, Lisa James and Rhonda Davis was definitely the way to go.  In the meantime I swept the theatre, cleaned the bathrooms, and vacuumed.

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A few beautiful window displays, designed and crafted by
volunteers!

     I didn’t have to wait too long before another volunteer parent quickly had me hanging up costumes.  I hung up costumes for weeks.  I then started gathering and asking for hanger donations.  Acquiring a costume rack was like discovering gold!  A parent dropping off a bag of hangers made us do a happy dance!  As more parents jumped into their passion with the costumes I watched piles of costumes on the floor turn into a full-fledged costume shop upstairs, complete with a sewing area, rental department and thousands of costumes.  Volunteers like Celeste Cobb, Terri Sparks, Becky Keith, Patty Paul, Beth Ballance, Janet Wagner, Chann Givens, Renee McMahon, Bonnie Juengert, David Poole, Pam Edenfield, Michelle McRorie and countless others, worked at making SCT’s costume department one of the most amazing volunteer community projects I have ever seen.  

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Can you believe that each and every one of these costumes was designed, sewn and fitted by volunteers?!

     I decided after burning myself on a hot glue gun and never really achieving sewing on a button correctly, that my passion for SCT could be found somewhere else.  There was always sweeping, cleaning bathrooms and vacuuming.  If only one of the donated vacuums would last longer than a month!

     So I decided to help with concessions.  It seemed to me that the concessions area was run by top CEO’s.  There was cleaning, ordering and inventory of popcorn, meeting delivery trucks coming from Jacksonville that sometimes couldn’t make it all the way to SCT, fundraising for the purchase of a second popcorn machine, wishing for a donation of cash registers, finding materials and building a new concession area.  The work load was so great, I was positive these people got paid to do what they did. Turns out they just had a passion for SCT. They knew they were in a place that was larger than themselves, a place that had a huge heart, and a place that did wonderful things for families.  I left the executives with the big hearts; Vivian Willis, Marty and Caroline Scott, Ruth Sales, Christina and Terry Edwards, Bettie and Cary Negley, Allison Cole, and kept cleaning the theatre and organizing costumes.

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My family, in front of one of SCT’s two concession stands, built and managed by…volunteers!

    My next adventure was volunteering on the tech crew.  I was able to be part of the magic of the show along with my children and I loved it.  Dressed all in black, I was able to run on stage between scenes in a black out and change the sets.  This was thrilling and exhilarating being so connected to the show!  Backstage I was involved with the children, kissing boo-boos, getting band-aids, getting water for sweaty, thirsty dancers, hugging excited performers who feel they nailed their scenes, and wiping away tears of young actors who felt they messed up their lines or didn’t go on when they were supposed to.  As time went on, my volunteer exploits grew from working tech, to painting sets, gathering props, even running the spot light and the light board.

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You can’t see me, but I was behind that dog house, pushing the actors back on course when their toy cars went astray!

    I can’t count the amount of times I was overcome with emotions while watching the amazing things that happen on stage.  I may have been giving volunteer hours, but I was getting so much more in return.   I learned so much working tech with Mike & April Prow, Vann Doubleday, Carrie Negley, Stewart and Danielle Pinkerton, Al & Cindy Williams, Mark Padgett, Cynthia Holmen, Eric Mitchell, Troy and Lee Brantley.  SCT’s heart could be found in all of these people and it was an honor to volunteer with them. I was still sweeping, cleaning bathrooms, and YES, it was a glorious day when Fred Miley donated a Dyson vacuum!  Then a lovely parent volunteered to pay for a part time cleaning person to help clean the theatre!  The building is in top shape now, thanks to Josh Riggs. (I wish I had some pictures to post of these amazing people hard at work behind the scenes, but that’s the tricky thing about techies. They’re behind the scenes because they don’t like being in the spotlight.)

     After my experience on the tech crew, there was nothing stopping my volunteer passion.  There were fundraising meetings, phone calls, letter writing, sponsor searches, and annual Gala meetings to attend. I made SCT brochures, and flyers, and with the help of Cheryl Lauer, took them all over town selling ads to businesses.  We gathered families and participated in the downtown Christmas parade, and the annual Children’s Book Festival.  We had to spread the word about this amazing little gem in the community!  I wanted people to know about the heart and soul of SCT, how I have watched it shape children and change my family’s lives for the better.  Savannah needs to know what a treasure they have in SCT.  Savannah also needs to know that SCT will only survive through community support, donations and volunteerism.

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The annual Christmas Parade on River Street, with a trolley full of SCT volunteers spreading their joy!

     I now have the most amazing job as the Office Manager of SCT.  I am surrounded by some of the most creative people in the world.  I have learned so much from Kelie Miley, Jenn Doubleday, Cynthia Holmen, Keena Charbonneau, and the rest of the amazing staff that have touched the lives of this community.  I get to watch children blossom and grow into amazing, confident young adults, all because of the dedication to joy and character building that exists within these walls.  I would like to encourage you to come find a place to share your creative side, your technical side, your administrative side here at SCT.  Come and show us your favorite color glitter…

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Now and Then, by Carmel Grace Cowart

_____Six years ago, I accepted Kelie Miley’s offer to be her Assistant Director for SCT’s Creative Dramatics I class production of Tiny Thumbelina. Little did I know that that experience was going to radically change my life, for good!

Grace Repella and Anna Schneider in Tiny Thumbelina, 2008

Grace Repella and Anna Schneider in Tiny Thumbelina, 2008

_____At the time, I was in college finishing my theatre degree and had plans to move across the country to pursue a career in performing arts ministry. However, God had a different plan for me. During that twelve-week class at SCT, I discovered my true passion was not performing (although it is still very near and dear to my heart), but directing children and enabling them to perform!

Julia Hameed, Emma Byrd, Emily Self, Emma Hoffman in Tiny Thumbelina, 2008

Julia Hameed, Emma Byrd, Emily Self, Emma Hoffman in Tiny Thumbelina, 2008

_____I distinctly remember the immense feeling of JOY I felt on opening night! The kids were simply beaming with pride and excitement, proud of what they’d done. I was also smiling, for I was so very proud of them. I couldn’t stop thinking, Wow! I can’t believe I got to do this. I had a part in helping these kids achieve something wonderful, and look at how much joy it’s brought them! This is where I’m meant to be!

Andy Paul, Kate Daly, Grayson Parsons in Tiny Thumbelina, 2008

Andy Paul, Kate Daly, Grayson Parsons in Tiny Thumbelina, 2008

_____Six years, dozens of class shows, hundreds of talented children, and much glitter later, I am still directing our CD1 class, and love every minute of it! Teaching classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays are the highlights of my week because every class I get to experience that same joy as the students creatively discover and use their many talents.

_____This year, you’ll be able to see several of the kids pictured above in our December production of Godspell. They began in CD1, graduated to CD2, and have now moved on to our highest level class, Junior Company. The talents they discovered in my class in 2008 continue to be cultivated by the rest of our amazing theatre team. It has been a privilege to watch them grow and to know that I have been a part of their artistic journeys.

_____I am especially excited about this year’s CD1 Fall show because we are revisiting the wonderful tale of Tiny Thumbelina. It’s a story of love, adventure, and discovering where you belong. I’m so thankful that for me, that place is Savannah Children’s Theatre.

 

Carmel & Morgan

Ms. Carmel & Morgan Jane Anderson, Tiny Thumbelina, 2008